Saturday, December 20, 2014

Insights into Duke Ellington, Bob Brookmeyer, Billy Byers and Gil Evans.

Arranger, David Berger sent me this video on which he discusses the compositional habits of Duke Ellington, Bob Brookmeyer, Billy Byers, and Gil Evans.  He also provides some insights into his own methods.

Like Berger, I am always on the lookout for proven, successful methods to incorporate into my own work.  For my next writing project, composing a series of educational jazz band charts for high school and middle school groups, I will try adopting Ellington's practice of using a reduced score.  I created the following template which is photocopied and ready to go:

big band score paper

I question if working this way might result in less combining of instruments across sections.  But then again, if this truly was the method employed by Ellington and Strayhorn, they certainly were not orchestrationally impeded.

More and more I am drawn to the idea of returning to paper and pencil, rather than sitting at a computer, entering notes.  The question is: To what degree will the process affect the imagined music?